13 Useful Free and Open Source JavaScript Web Frameworks

JavaScript is an extremely popular prototype-based scripting language that is one of the core technologies of the World Wide Web. It provides for enhanced user interfaces and dynamic websites. JavaScript can, for example, check information entered into a form to ensure it conforms to what is expected by a database.

JavaScript should not be confused with Java. While both are used to write computer software that can run inside a web browser, they are unrelated programming languages; Java offers a lot more than a programming language.

There are a wide range of open source JavaScript frameworks that are available to help speed up the development process of websites. The purpose of this article is to help newcomers to JavaScript narrow the field to a manageable number to explore. The frameworks offer a wide range of features, such as Document Object Model querying and manipulation, Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (Ajax) request handling, and an interface widget library being a few examples.

To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of excellent JavaScript frameworks. All of the software featured here is released under a freely distributable license.

Here’s our verdict captured in a legendary LinuxLinks-style ratings chart.

Ratings chart

Click the links in the table below to learn more about each framework.

JavaScript Frameworks
Vue.jsProgressive framework for building user interfaces
One JavaScript framework - mobile and desktop
Next.jsMinimalistic framework for server-rendered React applications
SvelteCybernetically enhanced web apps
GatsbyReact-based open source framework for creating websites and apps
ExpressMinimal and flexible Node.js web application framework
AstroWebsite build tool for the modern web
MeteorSimple environment for building modern web applications
Modern client-side framework for building single page applications
Ember.jsBattle-tested framework for building modern web applications
AureliaBuild components with plain, vanilla JavaScript/TypeScript
FreshNext generation web framework, built for speed, reliability, and simplicity
AngularJSExtend HTML vocabulary for your application

This article has been revamped in line with our recent announcement.

We’ve not included Node.js, jQuery, React, Backbone.js, Knockout, and others in this roundup. They are probably best described as JavaScript libraries rather than frameworks, but that depends on the definition of the two terms. For example, sometimes the difference between a library and a framework is … “a library is when you call some code, a framework is when your code is called from somewhere”. But while they may not be fully fledged frameworks, the distinction is often blurred.

Best Free and Open Source SoftwareRead our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. Our curated compilation covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There are hundreds of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and Autodesk.

There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.

Learn JavaScript with our recommended free books and free tutorials.

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2 months ago

I appreciate the explanation re libraries and frameworks.